Watch Video of the 2014 Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage


New Advent embeds the Catholic News Agency video below showing veterans and military personnel making a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes:

I previously wrote about this pilgrimage.

From the pilgrimage website:

The 2014 Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage for Wounded or Disabled Military Personnel for the 56th Annual International Military Pilgrimage will take place on May 13-19, 2014.

The pilgrimage, sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA and the Knights of Columbus, is the latest event in a long history of both organization’s involvement in Lourdes and in service to the military.

Wounded or disabled military personnel and their essential companion-caregivers will travel to the Marian shrine for a time of resting, praying, and healing. The five-day pilgrimage will consist of a number of spectacular and spiritual events, including: a war memorial ceremony, special Masses and events for the American pilgrims, Eucharistic procession and benediction, and a grand closing ceremony that draws tens of thousands to the sacred shrine.

Sarah Silverman refers to the unborn as “goo” on Bill Maher


Mediaite reports on Sarah Silverman’s appearance on Friday night’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. The report indicates that Silverman told Maher about her pro-abortion fundraiser in Texas that was picketed by Westboro Baptist Church. Silverman seems to compare all pro-lifers to those protesters and shows her opinion on unborn children:

She said her aim is show these people “a human face to this side that they only know as ‘people who want to murder babies.’ And meanwhile, it’s goo. It’s goo that they’re so worried about. And they’re born, and it’s you’re on your own, slut.”

Silverman also said she had never had an abortion and was mocked by Maher about the way she admitted that fact:

“And the truth is, and I don’t like to admit this,” Silverman continued, “I’ve never had an abortion and I don’t know if I would. But it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t fight to the death for women to make their own choices for their own human bodies.”

“Thank you for being brave enough to admit you’ve never had an abortion,” Maher joked in response.

The fictional version of Sarah Silverman she portrayed on Comedy Central’s The Sarah SilvermanProgram in 2007 spoke of having had 3 abortions.


2014 Memorial Day Weekend Wrap-Up

A recap of my Memorial Day Weekend posts:

  • There are a lot of people who either don’t know the difference (or don’t want to know) between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. I addressed that issue, and since then there have been a couple of people in the comments insisting the holidays are the same. I’ll be nice and not say what I really think of that.
  • I did also write about one blogger who apparently didn’t know the difference between the two holidays and then promptly politicized it.
  • One person who got it right for Memorial Day was Senator John Cornyn.
  • I wrote about the service and sacrifice of Neil J. Damato and Anthony P. Damato. The Damato brothers were my wife’s great-uncles who gave their lives in World War II. Neil was bombardier on a B-17 that was shot down in November 1943. Anthony threw himself onto a grenade to save his fellow Marines in February 1944. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor.
  • I also wrote about Medal of Honor Recipient Emil Kapaun. Father Kapaun was a Chaplain who died as a prisoner of war in Korea. He has been declared a Servant of God by the Catholic church – which means he is at the first step of the journey to sainthood.
  • Clemson University has 448 fallen alumni on its Scroll of Honor. Iwrote about some of those men, including Rudolf Anderson and Jimmy Dyess. Dyess was a Medal of Honor recipient who died in the Battle of Kwajalein. Anderson was the first recipient ever of the Air Force Cross and died when the U-2 he was piloting was shot down over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • I previewed the National Memorial Day Parade and the celebrities participating in it. I also wrote about the Grand Marshal of the parade, Dick Cole, who was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot on the Doolittle Raid.
  • I also offered a prayer for Memorial Day.

Memorial Day: Clemson’s Scroll of Honor includes Rudolf Anderson and MOH recipient Jimmie Dyess

Scroll of Honor

484 Clemson alumni gave their lives in service of the United States military. Clemson was  second only to Texas A&M in the number of commissioned officers provided (6,475) during World War II. Three alumni received the Medal of Honor, including one who was killed.  All 484 of the fallen alumni are listed in the Scroll of Honor. Memorial Park honoring them is behind Memorial Stadium.

Here’s the breakdown by war or conflict:

  • WW I – 27; Nicaraguan Campaign – 1
  • WW II – 376; Korean War -19
  • Cuban Missile Crisis – 1
  • Vietnam War – 31
  • The Cold War – 26
  • Global War on Terrorism – 3

Taking a closer look at some of the facts related to the Scroll of Honor:

  • The whole Class of 1917 volunteered en masses for WWI.
  • 12 of the 27 WWI deaths were of Spanish influenza or pneumonia.
  • Five alumni (out of eight forced to participate) died as a result of the Bataan Death March during WWII.
  • Aubrey Rion,  starting quarterback from the 1939 football team that went to the Cotton Bowl (Clemson’s first bowl game), was killed defending Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.
  • Major Malcomb Edens, Class of 1947, was a pilot and a POW in the Korean Conflict.
  • Colonel Wesley Platt had been a prisoner of the Japanese in WWII and died in the Korean Conflict.
  • Colonel Albert Smarr served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He was a POW after the B-17 he was gunner on was shot down by the Germans. He was freed by the Soviets during the liberation of Berlin.  He graduated Clemson after the war in 1950 and was assigned to a Tank Battalion in Korea. He was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam in 1972.

I decided to take a closer look at Rudolf Anderson, who was shot down over Cuba in 1962, and Jimmie Dyess, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor.

rudolf-andersonMajor Rudolf Anderson, Jr. was the only death of the Cuban Missile Crisis caused by enemy fire. He was born in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1927. He graduated from Greenville High School and was an Eagle Scout. Anderson graduated Clemson in 1948 and was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

He flew RF-86 Sabres in Korea and received two awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross during that conflict. He then transitioned to the U-2 in 1957 and had over 1000 hours in that aircraft. On October 27, 1962, Anderson took off from McCoy AFB near Orlando to fly a mission over Cuba. He was shot down by a surface-to-air-missile (SA-2) near Banes, Cuba. President John F. Kennedy ordered that Anderson be given the first award ever of the Air Force Cross. He also received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, a Purple Heart, and the Cheney Award.

Anderson is buried in Woodlawn Memorial Park in Greenville (Shoeless Joe Jackson is also buried there.) A memorial to Anderson (consisting of a F-86) is located in Greenville’s Cleveland Park.

jimmie-dyessAquilla James Dyess was born in Andersonville, Georgia in 1909. He was an Eagle Scout. He graduated Clemson College in 1932, so he was a rat the same year my grandfather graduated. Dyess was commissioned an infantry officer in the U.S. Army Reserve after his graduation. In 1936, he became an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

On February 2, 1944, Lt. Colonel Dyess was killed during the Battle of Kwajalein on the island of Namur in the Kwajalein Atoll.   He led from the front as his men were under heavy automatic fire. Dyess was initially buried in the 4th Marine Division Cemetery on Roi-Namur, Kwajalein Atoll. He was reinterred in Augusta, Georgia in 1948.

Dyess was awarded the Medal of Honorfor his actions at Kwajalein. He is the only American to receive the Carnegie Medal for heroism and a Medal of Honor. He received the Carnegie Medal in 1929 for saving two swimmers off the SC coast.

In 1945, the USS Dyess (DD-880) was named for him. It was a Gearing-class destroyer, the same as the USS Damato. The Naval & Marine Corps Reserve Center in Augusta was named for him in 1998.

From his Medal of Honor citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, Twenty-Fourth Marines, Reinforced, Fourth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault on Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, February 1 and 2, 1944. Undaunted by severe fire from automatic Japanese weapons, Lieutenant Colonel Dyess launched a powerful final attack on the second day of the assault, unhesitatingly posting himself between the opposing lines to point out objectives and avenues of approach and personally leading the advancing troops. Alert, and determined to quicken the pace of the offensive against increased enemy fire, he was constantly at the head of advance units, inspiring his men to push forward until the Japanese had been driven back to a small center of resistance and victory assured. While standing on the parapet of an antitank trench directing a group of infantry in a flanking attack against the last enemy position, Lieutenant Colonel Dyess was killed by a burst of enemy machine-gun fire. His daring and forceful leadership and his valiant fighting spirit in the face of terrific opposition were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

David Hood also wrote a piece on the sacrifice of Clemson alumni.

Memorial Day: Remembering the Damato brothers who both gave their lives in WWII

Cemetery marker for Neil J. Damato and Anthony P. Damato

The above marker memorializing Neil J. Damato and Anthony P. Damato is at a cemetery in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. They were both my wife’s great-uncles on her mother’s side of the family. Both gave their lives four months apart in 1943 and 1944.


Neil J. Damato was born in 1918 in Shenandoah, which is in Schuylkill County.

His initial military service was in the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant in M Company of 157th Regiment in the 45th Infantry Division. He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in Philadelphia on February 4, 1942 for the duration of the war.

In 1943, Captain Neil Damato was the bombardier on a B-17F in in 8th Air Force. Specifically, he was in the 332nd Bomber Squadron of the 94th Bomber Group (Heavy.)

On November 5, 1943, the crew of aircraft 42-31066 took off from Bury St. Edmunds (RAF Station Rougham there was used by the USAAF during the war)  in England. The assigned target for the bombing mission was a synthetic oil refinery north-west of Gelsenkirchen, a German city that was a center for oil refinery and coal production. The aircraft was hit and eventually “[w]ent down from 27,000ft under control and exploded from fighter attacks. Crashed into the North Sea 300 yards west off Haamstede on Schouwen Island, Holland, at 1353hrs.” Two members of the crew were captured and the other eight crew members were classified as missing in action until a finding of death was made. Neil Damato’s body was never found.

His decorations included a Purple Heart and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clustrs. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten.


Anthony P. Damato was born in 1922 in Shenadoah, Pennsylvania. He delivered the Evening Herald and worked as a truck driver for a local coal dealer. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1942. He completed boot camp and then went to Derry, Ireland. He volunteered for special invasion duty in the North African campaign and was promoted to corporal after meritorious action during the invasion of Arzew, Algeria in November 1942. Starting in March 1943, he spent three months in the United States before sailing for the Pacific theater. He served there with 2nd Battalion, 22nd Marines, 5th Amphibious Corps. During a fight on Engebi Island (Eniwetok Atoll) in the Marshall Islands he died after throwing himself on a Japanese grenade that had been tossed into the fighting position he shared with fellow Marines. He was originally buried on Kiririan in the Marshall Islands until his body was reinterred at Section A, Grave 334 in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

On April 9, 1945, his mother was presented his Medal of Honor at  a ceremony in Shenandoah.

From Anthony Damato’s Medal of Honor citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with an assault company of the Second Battalion, Twenty-Second Marines, Fifth Amphibious Corps, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Eniwetok Atoll Marshall Islands, on the night of February 19,-20, 1944. Highly vulnerable to sudden attack by small, fanatical groups of Japanese still at large despite the efficient and determined efforts of our forces to clear the area, Corporal Damato lay with two comrades in a large foxhole in his company’s defense perimeter which had been dangerously thinned by the forced withdrawal of nearly half of the available men. When one of the enemy approached the foxhole undetected and threw in a hand grenade, Corporal Damato desperately groped for it in the darkness. Realizing the imminent peril to all three and fully aware of the consequences of his act, he unhesitatingly flung himself on the grenade and, although instantly killed as his body absorbed the explosion, saved the lives of his two companions. Corporal Damato’s splendid initiative, fearless conduct and valiant sacrifice reflect great upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.

After the war, in November 1945, the U.S.S. Anthony Damato (DD-871) was launched and later commissioned in 1946. Also after the war, a trophy given to the winner of the Mahanoy-Shenadoah high school football game was named for Anthony Damato and Jerome Szematowicz, who was stationed at Hickam Field and died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The trophy was given to the winner of the game from 1945-1958 and then again since 1995.

American Legion Post 792 in Shenandoah is named for Anthony Damato and on Memorial Day 2012 they dedicated this mural:


Brave men and women who gave their lives like Neil and Anthony Damato are why we are free and able to observe the solemn occasion of Memorial Day in 2014.

Prayer for Memorial Day


God of power and mercy,
you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears,
that we may all deserve to be called your sons
and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women
who have died in the cause of freedom
and bring them safely
into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

—from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers

Grand Marshal of Memorial Day Parade in DC is Jimmy Doolittle’s Co-Pilot

L1/Japan, Tokyo Raid/1942/pho 12

The National Memorial Day Parade starts at 2 p.m. Monday in Washington, DC. If you’re able to attend, you should go (if not this year, in the future.) It will air live on Reelz, The Pentagon Channel and News Channel 8 (in DC.) The parade will stream live on and DVIDS.

LTC Richard Cole will be the Grand Marshal of the Parade. Dick Cole was born in 1915 in Dayton, Ohio. The last reunion of the Doolittle Raiders was in April 2013. The only surviving members besides Cole are LTC Robert L. Hite,
LTC Edward Joseph Saylor, and SSG David J. Thatcher.


Graduated from Steele high School, Dayton, Ohio and completed two years college at Ohio University. Enlisted November 22, 1940. Completed pilot training and commissioned as Second Lieutenant, July, 1941. Remained in China-Burma-India after Tokyo Raid until June 1943, and served again in the China-Burma-India Theater from October, 1943 until June, 1944. Relieved from active duty in January, 1947 but returned to active duty in August 1947. Was Operations Advisor to Venezuelan Air Force from 1959 to 1962. Peacetime service in Ohio, North Carolina, and California. Rated as command pilot. Decorations include Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Chinese Army, Navy, Air Corps Medal, Class A, 1st Grade.

I lived in Columbia, South Carolina during the 60th reunion in 2002 and got to attend some events associated with that. I also was fortune to meet and talk with Doolittle Raiders LTC Horace Ellis Crouch and MAJ Nolan Anderson Herndon at a military appreciation night at a minor league baseball game in 2001. Initial preparations for the raid started at Lexington Army Airbase (current location of the Columbia Airport) before the training moved to Eglin.

Other participants in the parade include Gary Sinise, Kristian Bush of Sugarland, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri, J.R. Martinez, Rita Cosby, Kirsten Haglund, Eoin Macken, and Jill Flint.